Two Absolute Rules Of Social Media For Your Automotive Ad Agency

June 1, 2010

Two pieces of social media advise are combined in Ron’s two basic rules of social media.

RULE #1:   Don’t shove retail selling into the social conversation.

Don’t fall in line.  If there’s one trap waiting for you in social media it’s following what the pack is doing.  This is one time you don’t want to follow.   Shoving retail advertising into the social conversation is a no win strategy.  However it is the easiest thing to do.  And like most things in the world the pack migrates to the easy way.

RULE #2:  It’s ok to inject social tools into retail advertising.

On the flip side it is  a great idea to put social media into your retail advertising plans, strategies and creative.   For example:

  • Create a newsletter using the content from your blog.  Use a software like constant content.  Take  4 blogs and put them into the one of many formats available to you from constant contact.  Then take you email data base and mail it out to them twice a month.  This amount of frequency is just fine with the type of content you’re sending.
  • On a radio spot ask them to comment on your latest blog and you’ll send them a $100 gift card for their next service appointment.  You’ll get a new friend and lots of new opportunities for service business.   These ads can be done very effectively with 10 second spots.

Be creative but remember to follow  “Ron’s 2 Rules.”  If you or your automotive ad agency can these two simple rules you’ll find that social media is fun and effective.

What do you think of my two rules?  Let me know!



Can You Describe Your Car Dealership In 7 Words?

February 22, 2010

Here’s a challenge for you.


Can you describe your dealerships unique selling proposition in seven words or less?


Let’s take it one step further …

Can you describe your dealership in seven words “without” using the 10 things most car dealerships say about themselves?  I like to call these the industries common point of view.

Ten things dealership are most likely to say about themselves that everyone else is saying:
• We offer great service
• We have great prices
• We have great selection
• We care about our customers
• Nobody beats our deals
• We can get everyone approved
• We do what it takes
• We’ve been in business ____ years!
• We offer more for your trade
• We’re Number 1

If you are up for the challenge, share your description in seven words or less in the comment section below.

Be sure to identify your dealership, include your address if you like.
Be creative! Challenge your automotive advertising agency to come up with a brand new one if you need to.
I’d like to highlight these in a future post and have readers vote on the best.

Here are the first three entries!
• One Price Honda’s. Fast Fun Friendly
• Our Cars Are Cheaper In the Country
•A High Five Experience You Count On

Thanks for participating! Just type yours in the comment box below.


What’s The Buzz At Automotive Ad Agencies?

February 16, 2010

There’s a buzz in the air and it’s not Buzz Lightyear.  

What’s the buzz about?




Questions abound beginning with what does an integrated digital plan look like and how much should I spend.

It’s become very clear if dealers want to connect with the ever increasing digital customer you’re going to need to spend more in this arena.  

That’s the advice of Martin Sorrell, chief executive of  WPP.

 “Don’t just do digital because you can,” he said. “You must do it because it is integrated. As a dealer you have to use digital to augment the sales process.”  Sorrell said he is seeing signs that automotive brands are increasing their online marketing budgets this year.

 He said WPP’s research shows 93 percent of prospective buyers compare vehicles online before taking a car for a test drive, using third-party and automaker Web sites. But dealers only spend 2 percent of their ad budgets on Internet display ads.

 We are in a business environment that operates 24/7.   You have to expand your thinking as it relates to digital marketing.  The future of digital involves mobile applications, social media, social forums and integrated media.

 Research says only one in five consumers start their search for a car  at a dealers website.  To gain market share you’re going to have to connect with these customers before your competitors.  Most dealers can do mass media in their sleep.  It’s the dealer who integrates it with digital who is going to dominate.

    When you see how all  the pieces integrate it’s very exciting.

  • The dealership blog ties to twitter and facebook.  Key search terms from your blog increase the ranking of your website.  
  • You build a powerful social network that has far extending fingers into the market place.  
  • SEO program drives your website, blog, facebook and twitter pages toward page one of selected key words.
  • Specials on your website tie to your mass media.  Mass media push traffic to your website.
  • Targeted banner ads connect with in market shoppers and drive them to special landing pages. 
  • Text messages promote these special events.   
  • Cross promotions with local media outlets get very creative. Everything touches everything. 

 Don’t hide from this new world.  Get in the game.  Get your automotive ad agency to recommend your next step.  Market share is up for grabs.  Up your digital spending with a well thought out plan and just watch as your market share grows and grows.


Diamond Promotion Drives Dealership Traffic

February 9, 2010


Another winning promotion I just need to share with you.

The name of this one is Driving for Diamonds!

The premise is simple come take a test drive and you could win a diamond. 

Like a lot of promotions of this type the devil is in the details. 

Rule #1 of any good promotion is to be sure it’s real and it’s not going to upset anyone.  The power of social media will make any mistake  you make front line news.  So be sure it is a legitimate  offer.

Here’s how to pull off this good idea! 

  1.    Tie in with a good local jeweler.  The bigger the name the more credibility your promotion will have.  Don’t be afraid to use their name.  You’ll need secure their permission to do so.
    • Determine how the promotion is going to work.  In this case the strategy was simple.  Put 75 envelopes on the wall.  Inside each envelope is a voucher for a diamond.  On the voucher the size of the diamond is listed.  ¼, ½, ¾ or even a one karat diamond.
    •  Do your math and figure out how many diamonds you can put up and what your budget is going to be.  You need one hero diamond.
    •   If you choose to, you can augment your envelopes  with other prizes.
    •    Once the customer has taken the test drive they come in and select an envelope.  The envelope is pulled down and opened.  The consumer then see’s the diamond or prize they have won


This promotion can run for any length of time just plan it out with your automotive ad agency.  It’s easy to promote in any media; television, radio, direct mail, email, or social.

Have you done a promotion like this? Let me know. 


It’s Time To Drive Traffic With Cross-Promotions!

January 26, 2010

Cross promotions are becoming very popular for two very good reasons.

Advertising dollars are tight  for dealers and everyone is looking for added value items to offer their customers.  Cross promotions allow you to do both.  Share the cost of marketing and offer a unique value to your  customer.   How do you get started?  I find the best way to create a winning cross promotion is to brain storm. 

Here are 6 good cross-promotional idea’s to kick-start your next brain storming session.

  1. Develop a co-branded advertisement.  Try a lunch and service newspaper ad. Offer several service discounts and along with a lunch coupon from a local restaurant.  The offer is simple; take advantage of any of the service coupons today and get a free lunch.
  2. Here’s one doesn’t cost any money.  Social Media is going to a very effective strategy to create cross promotions.  Have your automotive advertising agency develop a local social media business group where you comment and promote each other on facebook and twitter. 
  3. Co-promote a give away using social media.  Once your social media group is up and running  create a promotion where you offer a give away of their products for a test drive, trade-in or referral.
  4. Create frequent buyer card. When the consumer buys a product of  certain value from each partner  and in return  receive a great prize or cash rebate. 
  5. Set up a display of their product in your showroom.  Try a College day where you have local Universities at the dealership to answer questions about admissions and scholarships.  Or try the old stomach approach.  Have a donut shop set up a small donut display on the weekends in the showroom.  Activity is key.  Plus, this is a great topic to promote socially.
  6. With every service customer staple a special offer or discount on the receipt from one of your local marketing partners.  Be sure it’s an offer they only get from you.   In return have them can staple a low, low oil change price on their receipts or into their sacks.

With the power of social media cross promotions will create a life of their own.  Every business in your market is looking for ways to capitalize on cross-promotions.

What great ideas have you seen work this year?


i-Phone’s Can Drive Dealership Traffic, I Think!

January 15, 2010

Up-Your-Ups is getting an i-phone app!

What does it mean?  Well I’m not sure!

I know what it is intended to do but what I have found once I begin to use social tools my brain goes into overdrive. I start thinking about how it could work for a dealership. How it could work for our agency.

Bottom line I have found this to be true with all the social media tools. The intent or design of the tool is obvious but the true end use will depend on your business and  your strategy.

That’s why it is so important if you want to drive dealership traffic with social media you connect with people who know your business.

There must over a thousand tools one could try.  The phone app world has just exploded. I tell our social staff if we stop learning for just a couple of days we’ve gone backwards.

Not just in the use of social media tools, but the strategy and the creative ideas of how our clients can use them.  So my advise is this. Try a tool even though you’re not sure if it will help or not. Once you’re engaged with it your creative mind should start filling your brain with possibilities.  If it doesn’t, don’t waste any more time with it.

Look for our i-phone app coming soon.  I know what it can do right now but when I realize what it can do for you and me in the pursuit of driving dealership traffic I’ll let you know.

If you’re ahead of me let me know what  your experiences are with i-phone apps to drive dealership traffic.  I can always use some help.